On a Beach Walk: #70 (Baseball – Ballparks)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today I think about the palaces of the fans known as ballparks to some – baseball stadiums to others.

Ballparks are those places creating a special feeling when hearing the wooden bat hit the ball followed by the roar of a cheering crowd rising to their feet – a bonding moment not only between people and the game, but also between people.

Ballparks are the cathedrals of baseball where people gather to worship with faith and allegiance for their team and yell praise to their cleated heroes. Ballparks are a place where memories are made to be told to the next generation.

I think of places before my time: Cincinnati’s Palace of the Fans, Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, Cleveland’s League Park, and Washington’s Griffith Stadium.

Many may not remember Los Angeles having a Wrigley Field. Not only the first and one-year home of the Los Angeles Angels, but also the location to television’s Home Run Derby.

There are the classic stadiums of my youth – Forbes Field (Pittsburgh), Connie Mack Stadium (Philadelphia) – previously known as Shibe Park – Sportsman’s Park (St. Louis), Polo Grounds (New York), cavernous Municipal Stadium (Cleveland), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), and others.

All places with their own quirks – yet, places of lore – but these are now gone. Places that may or may not have a sign or plaque commemorating its existence. Places that may be a playground, an apartment complex, a shopping area, a group of office buildings, or something for industry.

Let us not forget Boston’s Braves Field for much of it still stands. Not for baseball, but as a football field for Boston University – today known as Nickerson Field. An old ticket booth remains as a tribute to its past. One can sit in the stands imagining Spahn and Sain, then praying for rain – or slugger Eddie Mathews and other greats who played on this field.

A few teams played in temporary facilities as they waited for their new home – Houston’s mosquito-infested Colt 45 Stadium, Montreal’s quaint Jarry Park, and the Dodgers playing is a make-shift for baseball layout of massive LA Coliseum, which included a temporary high left field fence that made Moon Shots famous.

These ballparks gave way to the circular masses of concrete and steel known as multi-purposes stadiums that hosted baseball and football. Fortunately, most of them had shorter life spans than their predecessors. Not only is Atlanta’s multi-purpose stadium gone, so is it’s replacement.

The current generation of ballparks try to emulate the feel of those ballparks of long ago, but with modern conveniences and design. Yes, New York’s Yankee Stadium still exists, but it is not The House that Ruth Built – yet the city and franchise honors the original location.

For fans of baseball history, fortunately Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field stand of iconic tributes to the past. One has to wonder how long they will last – but for now, there is no end in sight … and for some of us, that’s a good thing.

No matter if in the old, new, or bygone, ballparks are places where vivid memories are made to be recalled – places where one can close their eyes and recall a past moment – a past hero – a past place as Ebbets or Crosley that stand no more, yet occupies a special place in the minds and hearts of their fans.

Ballparks are a special place – but so are beaches because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #69 (Baseball – The Season)

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(Part 2 of 3)

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Every mid-February while many are in the midst of winter’s firm grip, the time as come for pitchers and catchers to report for Spring Training.

February-March is the time of the year when baseball hearts emerge from the cold ground as those initial shoots of daffodils. A time when interest and hope are in the air as our Boys of Summer prepare for the annual Rite of Spring.

To baseball fans, spring is a time of hope, resurrection, and anticipation – a time for believing this is the year. To some, that hope may be dashed by mid-May, but hearts remain loyal to their team. There’s always next year! Even while languishing in the cellar, hearts still rejoice with each win – and feels low with each loss.

Baseball is a game played by fan favorites – the icons and legends. Lovers of the game can feel the presence of Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, Hornsby, and Musial while cherishing the Big Train, the Iron Horse, Wee Willie, Double X, and many more. Unfortunately, most if us knew very little about Satch, Josh, and Cool Papa.

Baseball fans know their childhood heroes as Charlies Hustle, Yaz, Doggie, Little Joe, the Say-Hey Kid, Duke, Mr. Cub, and Pops while fearing the Big Swish, King Kong, and Killer.

Baseball fans appreciate generational links as Ken Griffey Senior and Junior – the 3 generations of Boones or Bells.

The successful careers of brothers as the Alous is difficult to comprehend – let alone contemplating that Boog Powell should have been one of them.

Baseball – that national fascination that grew with the Golden Age of Radio. The game causing families to gather around a large box in the living room to cheer their heroes. A game that a future US President would recreate in a studio from a telegraphic ticker.

Every city has revered radio announcers – names that fans elsewhere may not know – but to locals, these are trusted voices who speak for them. Therefore, it is fitting that the hallowed halls of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York has an announcer’s wing – yet each fan prefers the voice of the one from our team.

I grew up in a time when people listened to many more games than watching. The Reds on TV were a rare treat to be savoured and not missed.

There was a time when Opening Day was Cincinnati’s day – a day all of baseball reserved for its first professional team – a day marking the season’s beginning for the entire baseball universe. This was done at a time before baseball sold its soul to cable TV in the name of money – even opening on another continent – but Cincinnatians ignore everyone and keep its traditions by hosting their Opening Day like no other place.

Baseball season is a marathon – not a sprint. The joy of today will be tempered by the sadness of tomorrow – and that tomorrow will provide the hope for another chance at joy.

There was a time when the October classic was fittingly named and didn’t crown a champion on a cold night in late October or early November. The end of the World Series truly meant the arrival of fall instead of the trumpeting of winter. A time when the leaves would swirl in empty stadiums and the ivy on Wrigley’s walls would go dormant – a time when colder temperatures were nearing, but not here yet.

As snows gather on the northern pallacial diamonds – yet we fans wait as flower bulbs below the snow-covered surface for the return of that annual Rite of Spring.

Baseball season is one of the many cycles of life – just like birds flying south for the winter – just like I vacate my northern outpost. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: #68 (Baseball – The Game)

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(Part 1 of 3)

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I think about the national past-time – the grand ol’ game of baseball.

Yes, baseball – that mathematical ballet played on a green diamond found in a variety of geometric shapes.

Yes, baseball – that timeless game often mirroring society.

Baseball –  the game without a clock – which is contradictory to the hectic nature of today’s everyday life – a life requiring time management and electronic calendars.

Baseball – a game that is more subtle than obvious. A game with a ball controlled by the defense; but hitting the ball causes each defender to move to a place of calculated efficiency in order to prevent something from happening. Yes – baseball is chess on grass.

Baseball – a game of definitives – win or lose – ball or strike – safe or out – fair or foul – most, of which, an independent arbiter decides.

To some, baseball is a kids game played by men – but to me, baseball is a man’s game kids play as they dream of becoming a summer icon.

To its loyal fans, baseball is a game of hope designed to break one’s heart – yet the same hope acts as restoration because tomorrow is a new day and the chance to make amends.

Baseball – played on heavenly green cathedrals for the loving souls. From the fan’s and player’s perspective, yes – truly a Field of Dreams. Not the one beside the cornfield, but the ones with the highly manicured brilliant green grass. Every fan remembers the first time their eyes saw major league grass – the green that forever sticks to one’s soul. Mine was Crosley Field in Cincinnati – Reds vs. Giants in the mid 1960s. Yes, my Reds won that night.

Baseball – a game of anticipation, but with anticipation comes waiting. To me, the young focus on anticipation, but as we age, there is a shift to waiting – yet, baseball provides both.

Baseball – a game filled with artistry – the fluidity of a 6-4-3 double play – the athleticism of an outfielder leaping to catch the ball before clearing the wall for a homerun – a catch that delivers relief to some, but heartache to others.

Baseball – the masterfully pitched game that befuddles batters is a work of a master craftsman – a brilliant painter. A few of the best hitters are professional batsmen who actually fail 2 out of 3 times is pure music.

Baseball – whose exclusion of Blacks spawned the Negro Leagues – and whose inclusion closed them – yet, let us not forget Moses Fleetwood Walker.

Baseball – the game that mirrors society. It’s segregated past broken by Jackie Robinson 17 years before Congress passed the Civil Rights Act.

Baseball – a game and a business. Greedy owners and players wanting more is nothing new – actually, close to the age of the professional game. That happens in business – yet today, players act in accordance to their own business decisions. Sadly, the days of a distinguished career in one uniform is slim – but not out.

Baseball – a game that challenges our patience, something that walking the beach does not do because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On Local Intrigue

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One never knows what encounters lie ahead when strolling through the city.

Batsakes is one of the few custom hat makers remaining in the US (for those who want to know more about this local treasure, here’s a short video)

 

Because of Larry Flynt’s (of Hustler Magazine fame) love affair with local law enforcement, there is a Hustler Store … Did you see the movie?

 

This is what happens to old location of a major department store … What has happened to old department store buildings in your area?

 

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (with its main location in city center) dates back to 1853

 

For those who watch Shark Tank, these guys won … but have since sold off

 

Cincinnati had Kings Records back in the days of vinyl recordings, but I didn’t know about this studio

 

Cincinnati has a minor league hockey team (Cyclones) and a love for pigs … meet Puck Chop …

 

… but in Cincinnati, baseball is king.

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Meet John Roebling and his bridge – The Roebling Bridge – the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge

 

What do you think this is?

 

 

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 409

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Last weekend concert featuring the solo careers of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young went better than I anticipated. Doobie Brothers take this stage this weekend Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Because of an approaching blog break, this will be the last concert until further notice.

What does a professional football player with a degrees in mathematical economics and religion and a minor in business who is working on an MBA in finance do in this spare time? Click here to discover the answer.

The recent baseball brawl between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates was interesting. The umpire had the chance to diffuse the incident when the Pirates’ pitcher threw at the head of the Reds’ batter. Oh no – not even a warning. Interestingly, the league gave the longest suspension to the pitcher. There is no place in the game for intentionally throwing at a batter’s head.

People who use hot weather days in the summer to justify climate change are just as clueless as those who use cold days to deny climate change.

Is there any difference between Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Heach Care?

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Of course I did NOT watch either of this week’s Democratic debates. I didn’t because I couldn’t answer this important question for me … Why? Nonetheless, from reports, I can say that the odds of me voting for Elizabeth Warren is the same as me voting for Donald Trump – Zero.

No – I did not attend the recent Trump rally in Cincinnati. For the record, I would go to hear him speak even if he spoke just to the residents in my neighborhood’s clubhouse.

Another shooting of a large crowd is another opportunity for Congress to do nothing – and that’s something I’m confident they can achieve.

Certain liberal groups want to expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 11 justices. Oh please, please start focusing on important issues. Please!

Who would have thunk that House Democrats would lead the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

A Director of National Intelligence who is a political hack without intelligence experience would seem to be the best two reasons for the Senate to approve Rep. John Radcliffe (R-TX).

President Trump can’t seem to politicize an event. At the recent signing ceremony of the 9-11 responders health benefits bill, instead of recognizing responders advocating for the bill, the responders benefitting from the bill, and the families this bill is designed to help – he threw accolades to his chief apologist – Rudy Guiliani. President Trump is a pathetic person, and even worse leader, and he brings the majority of his problems on himself..

Jeers to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) for being the only two senators to vote against the 9-11 responders bill. Thank you voters of Oregon and Kentucky for sending us clueless, partisan hacks who are loaded with double standards.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion captured this unique debate moment.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Guy on bus really good at whatever phone game that is
Sincere email to coworker drafted, reconsidered, deleted
Four-year-old convinced father is a moron after 45th consecutive hide-and-seek victory
Insecure infant worried he’s unworthy of animatronic toy rabbit’s love
Exhilarated woman discovers last person who used jigsaw puzzle left lots of pieces stuck together

Interesting Reads

A ship’s flag
Humanity’s greatest threat?
Trust and distrust in political America
The moon landing – Fake News!
Need for humanity to know how to get better
Remembering an architect
(Graphic) World’s oldest democracies
(Photos) Wildlife

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Heat song by one who will be a Kennedy Center honoree this December. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 176

On Politics
The way Washington is playing around with sequester cuts is just another example about the clueless, self-centered nature of the Washington establishment … and this includes President Obama’s symbolic pay gesture and the Republican response to it.

A legislator has sponsored a bill to establish an official religion in North Carolina. Someone wake me up and tell me this is a dream …or at least the other Carolina (where I would expect this)

As President Obama does fundraising for 2014 Congressional Democrats, I saw a Democratic majority in Washington would be a great boost for Republicans in 2016.

I found this site to be interesting – the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Although the gun control debate drivels on, Congress missed its opportunity for finding common group, thus I appreciate this op-ed from Dana Milbank.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Mississippi bans soft drinks smaller than 20 ounces
  • Businessman does work lying on bed like schoolgirl
  • Guy with 10,000 tweets, 15 followers ready to hang it up
  • Financial expert saves struggling zoo by firing all employees and getting rid of cages
  • STD had awesome time on spring break

Interesting Reads
Macaulay’s Catholic dissidents
Dinosaur Sex
Germany and Fracking
Time Place for Port Wine
Book Review about Herbert Hoover

As a tribute to the late Roger Ebert (1942-2013), here is a wonderful commentary about a movie – and one that I greatly appreciate.

On Potpourri
Cheers to Virgin Airways for this April Fools spoof.

I loved this one from consumer giant P&G, who actually promoted this in the Cincinnati during Opening Day festivities.

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Those knowing my interesting in the interchange between religion and science may be amused to know that at last week’s Easter Vigil service, I read the creation text from Genesis.

On the handbell front, we’re going to have a concert in early May, so here is one of the selections.

Interestingly, injured Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) has a higher 2013 salary than the entire opening day roster of the Houston Astros.

Thursday’s (yesterday) game marked the 20,000th game for my Cincinnati Reds – a mark only attained by the Braves and the Cubs.

Looks like the 25,000th comment on this blog should occur this month.

Coming soon … Time: The Musical – Act 2 ….. And, hopefully I will remember to tell more next week.

Cheer up Saturday Morning Cartoon fans because there will be a post on Saturday.

This video (thanks Patti) will send you into the weekend with a smile. Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Opening Day Monday

As a holiday weekend for many, I hope you had an enjoyable one in whatever you did. How did you spend your weekend? We had  wide variety of things as an evening on the ballroom floor, working in the yard, playing handbells, and hosting my in-laws.

Meanwhile, although Saturday was sunny and warm, cool temperatures have come to Cincinnati for Monday’s Opening Day. This is always been a special day for Reds fans, so the weather will not dampen spirits.

To celebrate Opening Day in the spirit of Monday Morning Entertainment, here are four of my favorite short pitching videos.  Even though the longest is only 90 seconds, (three are less than a minute), I’ve included a short description to help guide your choices 0 but watch as many as you want. Enjoy and have a great week!

On Opening Day 2010 in Cincinnati, the mayor delivered the worst “throwing out the first ball” ever.

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Enjoy this crazy pitch of a ceremonial first pitch.

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This one from a Japanese League is awesome. The umpire called it a strike probably for the effort.

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Movie buffs may remember this scene from Bull Durham.